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Dr John Hawkins

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Yes, it is Definitely Wild Mushroom Season Again

Posted on 2008/08/31 17:00:57 (August 2008).

[Friday 29th August]
Finished the working day with the usual Friday beer-and-pizza event, at which a few people hung around longer than usual, and engaged in a lively debate about the current state of our project, and the wider company.

It was well after 8 by the time I left, which actually worked out quite well, as Chie had been out with friends after work, and was just on her way back. So we met up in Victoria, and decided as it was late, and we didn't really have much to eat at home, to again break our rule of not eating out in August. My other excuse for breaking the rule is that we happened to walk past a restaurant called Gran Paradiso which caught my eye. I'd actually seen it many times before, and had always just dismissed it as a place for tourists (there are a number of these in the area). However, they had a special sign outside announcing in celebratory tones the start of wild mushroom season*, and as a combination of my obsession with mushrooms and the sheer delight that a restaurant in London was embracing seasonal foods in this way I just couldn't resist it.

The porcini bruschetta I had as a starter was just divine. It was a generous serving of porcini which had been very sensitively cooked, in some really good (but not overpowering) olive oil (and perhaps some butter?), and with perhaps just a hint of garlic and parsley - but again not over powering - it was all about the Ceps. The flavour was really good, they were obviously picked fairly recently leading me to believe these may well have been English Ceps - I could see they were in really good condition. Really succulent and fragrant, quite superb.

For my main course I had a pasta dish with porcini again, although I think if anything I preferred the starter, given that the ratio of porcini to anything else was much higher! Still, it was perfectly cooked pasta - a kind of fettucine or parpadelle perhaps, and a simple, elegantly made sauce which again let the flavour of the mushrooms come through far more than anything else.

So all in all I'm very pleased we broke our rule!

* the more experienced mycologists among you will of course note that wild mushrooms do not as a whole have any one season, however I think it's fair to say most of the best edible varieties start coming out around now.

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